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  1. #1
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    Any American teachers here? Quick question...

    Just a quick question to those American teachers out there : I understand that American English does not include the Present Perfect Tense - and that those that have learnt American English find it difficult to deal with this new, sometimes confusing, tense.

    My questions is how do refer to the past? Purely through the Simple Past tense? And have you yourself found this tense difficult to pick up yourself?

    Im very interested in this !!

    Regards,
    Sivvy.

  2. #2
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    Re: Any American teachers here? Quick question...

    Quote Originally Posted by sivvy View Post
    Just a quick question to those American teachers out there : I understand that American English does not include the Present Perfect Tense
    That's news to me. Which dialect of American English would that be?

    You know, it's hard to hear the present perfect sometimes, especially when it's contracted. That is, when have is reduced to 've and has reduced to 's:

    I've finished it is pronounced I[f] finished it.
    She's sent the letter is pronounced She[s] sent the letter.

    Contracted have (spelled <'ve>, phonetically [f]) is not heard separately from <f> of finished, and contracted has (spelled <'s>, phonetically [s]) is not heard separately from <s> of sent. In those examples, contraction makes it appear as if present perfect verbs have merged to simple past verb.

    All the best.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Any American teachers here? Quick question...

    There are cases where American speakers are more likely to use the past than speakers of some other variants: 'I already/just did it' sounds strange in BrE. I have never come across and American who didn't use it, but they don't use it in some cases where I would.

  4. #4
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    Re: Any American teachers here? Quick question...

    Yes- very interesting...I have just noticed that students from countries where American English is taught have no experience of this tense! Whereas British English learners do...maybe its just not as common in the USA!

    Thanks for your replies!

    Sivvy.

  5. #5
    SusieSlack is offline Newbie
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    Re: Any American teachers here? Quick question...

    We do use the Present Perfect in American English, but in some cases we view it as optional whereas it seems for the Brits it's mandatory. The main difference I think is in the use of the Present Perfect for 'a past action with present result', for example "I've lost my keys (=I don't have them now)", or seeing your friend with a new hairstyle and saying "You've changed your hair!" In American English sometimes we say, "I've lost my keys" but we're probaby a little more likely to simply say, "I lost my keys" and "You changed your hair!" Both instances sound right to us.

    It's the same with what the previous poster said as well, we can say "I already did that" or "I just finished it" in American English and it's considered correct. But we do also sometimes say, "I've already done it" and "I've just finished it"...it's optional, as I said.

    But all the other uses of the present perfect-- unfinished time and all that-- "I've answered 20 emails this morning" "I've never been to Spain" are the same in American English as in British English.

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